The verb 明白 míng bai is a very practical word, it means to understand. Before going further in its use in the spoken language, let’s have a look at the structure of 明 and 白.
明 is composed of the sun 日 and the moon 月，il means clear, bright, the combination of the two luminaires is eloquent. Other spellings include the moon and the window, which gives another explanation. Here we have the light of the moon entering the room through the window, an image of inner illumination, and to return to meaning, inner understanding. The various writings of 白 exceed a hundred and many interpretations intersect. Here are some of them: 1. penetrate and yin 2. The upper line indicates the top of the sun that is beginning to dawn, giving a pale white light. 3. A clenched fist, symbol of the united family, with the thumb raised, symbol of the head of the family. 4. A pocket of fish eggs. 5. A grain of white rice, opposite the grain of black rice. Examples of ancient writings from 白 :
The spoken language and 明白
明白 means understanding. In the spoken language, associated with other verbs, it brings nuances. For example, with 看 to see, we will refer to something we have seen in a text, a document, an event, a situation 我看明白, I understand (what I see). The negation will be put between the two verbs, 我看不明白, I don’t understand. With 听 tīng, listen, 我听明白 (I understand – what I listen to), place yourself in a conversation to show that you have understood the oral explanation, for example. In the picture below, Ming Cheng is talking with his director who explains what he has to do. He says, “I also understood 我也听明白了. »
With 想, xiǎng, thinking will be the order of the day. 我想不明白 will give : I can’t understand/think or I can’t understand. 弄 is a catch-all verb, quite used. It means to do, you can associate it with other verbs. With 明白 we will look at the context to translate. Often, 我弄明白 will mean I understand or I understand how to do.
For the character 明, see Cyril Javary in ” 100 mots pour comprendre les Chinois” (page 46) and 白 , Kyril Ryjik, in “L’idiot chinois” (Volume 2, pages 4 to 6)
The repatriation of Indian orders to China mentioned in the last article should not hide the reality. The research bureau Trigger Trend recalls the three significant challenges facing exports, the rise of the yuan against the dollar, offshoring, and the structure of the Chinese economy too dependent on investment.
The rise of the yuan
With China’s economic recovery and the widening interest rate differential between the United States and China, the yuan against the U.S. dollar achieved its best quarterly performance in the past 12 years in the third quarter, with a high of 6.69 to the dollar, its highest level since April 2019.
After the national vacations, the foreign exchange markets began to bet on the possibility of a Biden victory, the yuan soared 1.4% in a single day, its largest one-day gain in 15 years. The central bank reacted by limiting risk measures-taking on futures contracts, to no avail. Uncertainty over the short-term U.S. elections will also continue to fuel yuan’s volatility. The government wants to avoid the Japanese trap with the Plaza Agreement in 1985: a rapid appreciation of the yen against the dollar, which fueled the stock market bubble and the real estate bubble before it collapsed. For Chinese exporters, the exchange rate hurt their profits. The more orders come in, the more fear there is of selling at a loss. The prices given when orders were placed did not include the exchange rate risk. Companies work on cycles of one to three months between order and payment on delivery.
Indian textile orders in part have been repatriated to China, but this is not the underlying trend, as the cell phone manufacturing industry is looking outward, especially to India. To attract foreign investment, the Indian government this year launched a $6.6 billion incentive program and a major $1.4 trillion infrastructure plan to turn India into a new production center for smartphones. In early August, Apple moved six production lines from China to India and has now “relocated” eight factories from China to India. In July, India’s Ministry of Communication Technology announced that the iPhone 11 went into production at the Foxconn factory in Chennai. Foxconn planned to invest $1 billion to expand the plant to provide one-fifth of the Chinese factory’s iPhone production capacity. Reports from the Guangxi region indicate that nine hundred Chinese technicians were crossing the Vietnamese border to take up their posts. The employers are companies with Chinese and Taiwanese capital, such as the famous Foxconn. Besides, several hundred workers who entered the country illegally were sent back to China. These kinds of events do not appear in the official Chinese media for the moment! The deterioration of relations between the United States and China has reinforced American and European companies’ concerns about their excessive dependence on Chinese supply chains. The epidemic has only temporarily disrupted the global industrial chain’s adjustment, which had already begun before the health crisis.
The difficult structural transformation of the Chinese economy
China announced its GDP results for the third quarter. The good news is that the Chinese economy has gone green, with a 4.9% growth in the third quarter and 0.7% in the first three quarters. But a closer look at the three main components of GDP shows that the economy is still dependent on the past model. In the first three quarters, consumption lagged behind investment and exports. Investment in assets increased by 0.8 percent year-on-year: manufacturing industry declined by 6.5 percent, infrastructure grew by 0.2 percent, and real estate development by 5.6 percent. Total imports and exports grew by 0.7 percent, exports by 1.8 percent, but imports slipped by 0.6 percent. Retail sales of consumer goods declined by 7.2% year-over-year. China’s economic dependence on the real estate did not decline. These are the realities that the “dual-cycle” strategy must face.
Economist Liu Yuhui compares China’s economy to an overloaded truck on a downhill slope that is trying to be braked – 中国经济是踩着刹车下坡的超载重卡. The risks and challenges are even more significant, and it is essential to shift to a reallocation of resources and get out of the real estate “kidnapping.” The structure of the economy has to change; otherwise, everyone will suffer, even exports.
中 is the center, the middle. Pronounced in the 4th tone, 中 zhòng has the sense to hit right. Its origin goes back to the first graphs showing an arrow in the middle of its target. Linked to this meaning, it has the function of a complement, it gives additional information about the verb, the result of the action. With 猜 cāi, guess, 中 will bring the nuance on the correctness. We will translate 猜中 by guess right. Often used with 看, 看中 means to have a preference. In the dialogue of an episode of 都挺好, Ming Yu tells her father that she guessed correctly the reason for her visit to the hospital.
果然被我猜中了 guǒrán bèi wǒ cāi zhòng le, Indeed, I did guess it . 果然 guǒ rán, indeed / as expected 被 bèi, par / (used in front of a verb or in front of an agent complement to express a passive action)
Some verbs with 中 : 猜中 cāi zhòng, guess correctly / find the right answer 选中 xuǎn zhòng, choose / pick up / settle on / decide on a candidate / be selected for a role / select, highlight (inform.) 击中 jī zhòng, reach / touch syn. 看中 kàn zhòng, to have a preference for/ settle on 打中 dǎ zhòng, hit (a target)
“First in, first out”, from the epidemic. China reverses the trend after a difficult start to the year.
From India to China
The episode of the orders from India is an example. Since September, many textile export companies in India cannot guarantee delivery due to the epidemic. Many orders have been transferred to China to be produced there. India has more than seven million confirmed cases and more than 100,000 deaths. Several large Chinese factories have their order books full until May 2021.
The price of cotton soars
Since the recovery after the national holiday, cotton futures have increased by 16 percent in just seven days. The price of the 2101 main contract reached 15,305 yuan, a new year-to-date high:
The bull market is explained by a sudden increase in demand and a likely cold winter this year. Shen Wan’s Textile and Clothing Index shows a gain of 11.55% since the end of the national holidays. The increase is also fueled by usual year-end orders placed early to prevent the epidemic’s possible difficulties. During these vacations, the textile mills worked overtime to record and process orders. Some mills even worked on October 1, a holiday. Henggang Company in Zhejiang received an order for tablecloths from Zara, representing 60% of its annual sales, which was to be produced in India. Other companies in various provinces, from Shandong to Canton, Jiangsu to Zhejiang, are experiencing the same phenomenon.
Alibaba Research Center shows that from May, the number of orders for fabrics and textile raw materials in China doubled and those in the clothing industry tripled compared to the same time last year. The catching-up effect of the previous months worked.
A “harmonious” performance?
In August, clothing exports reached $16.21 billion, an increase of 3.2% over the previous year, representing the year’s first positive monthly growth. According to official data, textile, clothing, and the seven other labor-intensive product categories exported 2.59 trillion yuan during the first three quarters in China, an increase of 5.4%, which represents 20.4% of total exports. 828.78 billion yuan of masks were exported, an increase of 37.5%. The field testimonies and comments collected by journalists on the 第一财经 website do not sound exactly like the official data. This type of figure is sometimes questionable. With the slowdown and halt in certain regions at the beginning of the year, the textile industry, over the year as a whole, the situation is not yet positive. Companies that recorded volumes equivalent to 60-70% of last year’s orders consider themselves happy, but overall, the figures are around 50%.
As for India, the sector is essential. In 2019, the Indian textile and clothing market was worth about $250 billion. It is the world’s largest jute cotton producer and the second-largest producer of silk, with 22% of the world’s yarn production capacity. The textile and clothing industry is also one of the significant foreign exchange sources, accounting for 15% of India’s total export earnings. The drastic management of the epidemic from January 23 onwards has enabled China to come out of it better and faster. Currently, it is reaping orders from countries in difficulty, such as India. It will undoubtedly continue to benefit from returning to normalcy within the country, while many countries can not the end of the tunnel. How much longer?
The Chinese economy’s transformation reshuffles some of the cards, with cities that remain on old development models “watching the train pass,” while others grasp modernity. Faced with the widening gap between North and South and East and West, one region breaks the categories and stands out from the crowd: the urban pole of Chengdu-Chongqing. The Meituan Group’s research center, in a study on “new industries and professions within the life services sector,” ranks the top thirty cities between three levels: 1. the first level 2. high-potential group 3. Cities with potential. Sichuan’s capital, Chengdu, and Chongqing have broken the usual classifications by moving to the forefront with the top tier cities, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou.
Meituan specializes in online sales related to the restaurant industry. The term “life services industry 生活服务业” includes services related to food, restaurants, housing, beauty care, aesthetic medicine, hairdressing, wellness, repairs, apartment management, recycling, photography, personal styling. What are the new occupations in this industry?
Chengdu and Chongqing at the forefront?
A city’s ability to be a leader in new trends is inevitably linked to a dynamic economy and an open environment. Moreover, Chengdu and Chongqing also display unique competitiveness, the former being nicknamed the capital of cosmetic medicine. The life service industry has formed a group of new initiatives. The epidemic has accelerated the penetration of digitization in life services, such as take-out, group purchasing, flash sales, online car booking, and other services to form a “new digital infrastructure” serving residents’ lives. Chengdu and Chongqing residents have always been more adventurous consumers, and they are looking for new experiences in food, drink, and entertainment. The market felt the wind, capital, and talent quickly flowed in, and service became the main battleground. New business formats began to emerge.
The attraction of the region
Chengdu and Chongqing are ranked third and fifth in China regarding the number of employees in new occupations in the life services sector. The Chengdu-Chongqing cluster, thanks to targeted measures and a suitable living environment, has attracted a large number of young employees. Over the past five years, Chengdu and Chongqing have recorded a positive net migration of nearly 500,000 people each year. It is no coincidence that Chengdu and Chongqing are in the lead.
China’s GDP per capita must exceed the $10,000 threshold to avoid falling into the middle-income trap. The first trend is to replace dependence on investment and resources by relying on consumption and scientific and technological innovation; the second is to keep up with the wave of digital transformation and seize new momentum. The second is to embrace the wave of digital transformation and take new momentum. The epidemic has brought about revolutionary changes in the consumer services sector: online retailing, online education, and online entertainment are growing rapidly. New models, such as contactless services, are emerging, showing remarkable economic resilience. Policymakers have realized that the service industry should rely on digital platforms. In the last two months, the central government has issued two documents on accelerating society’s digitization and support. Chengdu-Chongqing has a prominent place. As part of the development of West 2.0, they are at the heart of the national strategy to promote Chinese cities’ fourth circle. Within the framework of the dual-cycle process, local and international, the two cities are the few cities in the interior that record a takeoff of its economy.
The new forerunner of urban competition
Among the cities in the new format, Chengdu and Chongqing are typical examples of experience-based cities. Another category is the cities of new technology-based industries. Shenzhen, the city of the digital economy, is the technological innovation capital of China. These two types of cities have one thing in common: they are more attractive to new professionals. Shenzhen ranks third on the list, second in terms of the number of new employees. Competition between cities for new professions is bound to intensify.
Most new jobs are created through a combination of the Internet and offline. On the Meituan platform alone, there are more than 70 types of new professions. During the epidemic, the “neighborhood group purchasing manager” came into being. The niches generate rare jobs: takagist decorator (live game), traditional Chinese style costume designer, wildlife photographer, digital operations manager, meal planner in theme restaurants, adviser and salesman of country products, organizer for tailor-made business or tourist trips. The new professions require essential digital skills. Staff in the sector are better educated and have higher incomes than in the last decade. 26.7% of Meituan’s merchants have a bachelor’s degree or higher, 40.7% have a monthly income of more than 9,000 yuan (US$1,350), and 24.7% have a monthly income of more than 12,000 yuan (US$1,350).
With the development of new industries and new professions in service to local life, Meituan’s data is quite convincing. For example, in the first half of 2020, the number of delivery personnel on the Meituan platform reached 2,952,000, a 16.4% year-on-year increase, which is very important for stability and employment. In 2019, the life services industry’s transaction volume on the platform reached 483.74 billion yuan. From 2016 to 2019, the transaction volume grew at an average annual growth rate of 55.1%.
Training needs to improve
Today, vocational schools’ training system is often lagging behind market developments, and the slow updating of teaching materials and equipment is penalizing. Macroeconomic monitoring is also necessary to adapt to changes. For example, it is essential to speed up recognizing new professions to encourage the renewal of vocational school courses and increase practitioners’ training of new occupations.
Thanks to digital technology, the life service industry is gradually breathing new vitality into the Chinese economy by forming a more efficient industrial chain. Changes have already begun to appear. Chongqing and Chengdu have taken the lead.
Another version of the origin of the 中 character comes from an umpteenth type of ancient spelling evoking a circle with a flag on each side. The flags indicate the neighboring countries and in the center, the country in the middle, later called China or the Middle Kingdom.
The American administration wants to achieve decoupling with China. We listen to various points of view, some seeing China as the loser, others the opposite. Chinese economist Huang Qifan gives a somewhat official point of view. He describes the current American difficulties, the ten aspects of decoupling. He says that both countries will lose out while thinking that American companies would instead continue to benefit from globalization than follow Trump. In the last part, Huang shows that China is not easy prey, that it cannot succumb to financial attacks, unlike other countries in the past.
黄奇帆, Huang Qifan :
Summary of Huang Qifan’s lecture:
The Three Main American Difficulties
The biggest event of the year is the Black Swan, the coronavirus epidemic, which is expected to affect at least 10 million people worldwide by the end of the year. The United States, the region where the virus is the most developed globally, is currently experiencing several serious problems: 1. severe economic stagnation.2. a highly populist society.3. Politicians are running away. Inflation and economic contraction are striking. The US government has issued $3 trillion in bonds in the last three months, another $3 trillion in quantitative easing super-loans, which is in addition to $6 trillion in monetary easing, so much so that the US government’s national debt balance has reached $27 trillion. With monetary hyperinflation of this magnitude, substantial inflation follows, and in the event of an epidemic, products, the economy, businesses will not experience inflation, but the opposite. So, where does this monetary bubble go? Three places: 1. the stock market, the Dow Jones fell to 18,000 in February to rise to 28,000 .2. Real estate. 3. Precious metals, for example, gold from the United States. Its price has increased by 80% since the beginning of the year. Another aspect is the devaluation of the dollar against the euro and the depreciation of the yuan. The other end is economic contraction. The United States is experiencing the worst economic contraction in decades. It now has a record number of unemployed people. Inflation is a disaster, causing the devaluation of the currency. Now that the currency is devaluing, the economy is contracting, life is hopeless, and the future is uncertain. We are rushing to extremes. The left is going further left, the right is going further right. America is torn between the Democratic and Republican parties, between blacks and whites; even the federal and state governments are clashing. The third characteristic is, of course, the evasiveness of politicians, who do not face reality by blaming the Chinese, the cause of all evil, for the proliferation of the virus. Tens of millions of people have been laid off because of the Chinese economy, Chinese companies, and the Chinese government, which have stolen Americans’ jobs.
Ten aspects of the decoupling of the US and China
Decoupling of exchanges, then no deals. The concept of trade decoupling is more severe than tariffs. Adding tariffs is still trade. It’s just increasing the cost of trade, but it’s not yet decoupling. But if the business is decoupled, I don’t buy your products, I don’t sell them to you, and mutual trade and economic exchange stop.
Decoupling of capital markets A bill is expected to be introduced that will affect more than 200 Chinese companies, and if passed by the US legislature, this law is a straitjacket for Chinese companies. The companies listed in the United States today are all listed with the help of US investment banks, US law, and accounting firms, all in full compliance with US law. But with the new straitjacket and new regulations, this is unlikely to be legal.
Financial decoupling. US insurance banks do not make loans or insurance for Chinese companies.
Technological decoupling. Recently, we saw with Huawei that the US is blocking chips or high-tech equipment.
Investment decoupling. This is called a lender. American companies disinvest in China or don’t invest in China.
Decoupling of education. All kinds of measures are taken to expel Chinese students. After graduation, students are not allowed to find jobs in the United States.
Decoupling of the Internet. A month and a half ago, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo proposed five aspects of Internet decoupling.
Decoupling with the Swift network could lead to extreme inconvenience in trade between China and the world.
The alleged decoupling of currency and exchange rate
Long arm skill. US domestic law is used as a substitute for international law to find various Chinese companies’ faults in different countries, freeze assets, or impose hefty fines. Example: the arrest of Ren Zhengfei’s daughter from Huawei, Canada.
The American government has not yet declared war. We are on a dangerous slope at the moment: US trade decoupling, technology decoupling, and investment decoupling all lead to the problem of market loss. The United States has more than 10,000 companies in China, created in the last 20 years, with a total investment of $500 billion, which translates into $700 billion in production and $50 billion in profits. Its return on investment is therefore 10%, and its sales margin of 7%. US$700 billion in China is equivalent to 5 trillion yuan in production value, 1,500 billion yuan in GDP. Decoupling would lead to paralysis in this area; China would lose 1.5% of GDP and 2.5 million jobs. In this sense, of course, it will affect us in some areas of China, in certain circles, but China has room for maneuver. It can fill the void; it is capable of balancing; it will only have local difficulties. But for the United States, if those 10,000 or so companies really listen to Trump and disinvest completely, the number one loses $50 billion in profits. They can’t recapture that market anywhere else in the world.
The entrepreneur’s emperor is the market, efficiency; the board of directors wants profit, it wants a minimum ten-year base, it will not follow a politician in office for four years and eight years. General Motors founded a mixed capital company in Shanghai in 1994 and today sells three million cars a year in China. The parent company sells more than eight million vehicles a year. Once GM leaves China, three million vehicles will be gone, and only five million will be left, making it a second-rate auto plant. How can GM bosses listen to Trump? Apple is dead if it leaves China. Trump told Apple to divest. Why can’t Apple manufacture in the United States? Cook explained that Apple had one factory in the United States and one in Brazil. The company was losing money. But in China, the company produced more than 100 million cell phones, which generated 75% of the world’s profits from the cell phone part. The boss of the company also explained something exciting. China cannot leave Apple, and Apple cannot leave China; leaving China means death. Companies are not very inclined to follow Trump, just like Wall Street. The Chinese government in June opened access to foreign financial services central government. August data already showed $30 billion in investment. Investors follow the market, not the president. Trump instead disrupts the markets.
The chip market
China will be affected, whether it’s trade decoupling, technological decoupling, or investment decoupling, or so-called education decoupling, Internet decoupling, it will have an impact on China, but the effect is tolerable, it can be adjusted, and over time it can force China to move up a level. Of course, decoupling from the United States will not destroy the United States, but specific American companies may find themselves in difficult situations. A study by the Boston Consulting Group estimates that restrictions on chip sales to China could cost US suppliers as much as $83 billion, or 37% of their revenues. They could lose the Chinese market.
Finance: China has some defences
We can discuss decoupling capital markets, decoupling insurance and banking finance, decoupling the Swift network, decoupling currency, and decoupling long-arm jurisdiction. These decouplings are all financial instruments, and by using these instruments, the Americans sunk the former Soviet Union, causing an 80% drop in GDP in dollar terms. Today, Russia’s GDP is lower than that of one of our provinces, Guangdong, and the reason is the scourge that was sown in 1990. In 1998, these financial attacks also brought down South Korea in 1998, Thailand, and Southeast Asia, and in the early 1980s, Japan was also hit hard. The blows are significant. Would China be in an unbearable situation if financial instruments were to hit it? If we decouple from the United States in the financial sector, we would all lose, the United States more so. What is the reason for this? Why can’t they beat China when they’ve been successful against Russia, Southeast Asia, South Korea, and Japan? Whether it is the Asian financial crisis or the 2008 crisis, we have never seen American financial methods attack the Chinese financial system, and above all, we have in China three defenses that can be described as our nuclear umbrella, our shield. First, we do not have free convertibility of capital. Prudence has always accompanied the decisions of the State Council. 2. Until today, even though we are said to be open to foreign financing, at the end of last year, foreign financial institutions accounted for only 1.8% of China’s financial assets. 3. Financial operations in China must be governed by the Chinese constitution, Chinese law, and the central bank, under penalty of punishment. We are a sovereign country. Why are the five cases we have just mentioned cited everywhere? The Russian economy had barely begun to develop when the currency was fully convertible with no defense for capital as a result of the so-called reforms. Secondly, the Russian reforms changed all their financial regulations to the liking of the American IMF. Finally, American companies entered Russia and controlled more than 30 percent of financial assets. As long as South Korea, Southeast Asia, and Japan, these three regions and countries are open and controlled by Americans. Security is not assured. China has limited openness and is much more protected. At this stage, this is the fundamental reason why Chinese finance is immune to international shocks from the financial crises of the late 1980s, late 1990s, or 2008. End of the summary
It is essential to recognize that the Chinese government has been able to defend national interests since the opening of the late 1970s by moving forward cautiously, particularly in the opening of financial markets. There has always been an intense fear of being the plaything of the financial markets like weaker countries. The protection of its currency has allowed it to advance in its deep waters. One of the strengths of the United States is innovation, which is China’s weak point. Will China be able to move from copying and improving existing innovations to being a leader in innovation? For the moment, the answer cannot be yes. Will the future show the opposite?
Let’s stick to the 行 character. We saw 就行了 last week. 就行 can be used without 了 and the aspect of change will disappear. 好好好 回去就行 hǎohǎo hǎo huíqù jiùxíng. How to translate the sentence in the image below?
The emphasis on 好, said three times, in the context of episode 5 of the series 都挺好, rather marks satisfaction. The husband calls his mother-in-law to find out if his wife, who has left in anger, has returned to her parents’ home. The sentence will give: “Good, good, good, she’s back, fine!”
We’ve seen the expression 就行了 in the last two days, but where does the 行 xíng character come from? The first spellings of the Jiaguwen era evoked a crossroads:
The reform of writing undertaken by Li Si in the 2nd century Av. J.-C. modified the writing as follows:
The idea of crossroads disappeared. Xu Shen 许慎, who was unaware in his time of the first Jiaguwen spellings, noted, four centuries later, in the Shuowenjiezi 说文解字, that the character came 彳et from 亍, two spellings evoking small steps. 行 became a verb and the meaning of crossing disappeared. ( 彳chì is a key meaning small step, to walk)
行 xíng has a lot of meanings: walking / acting / doing / practicing / applying / okay / packing / leaving home / walking / traveling. It has other pronunciations and other meanings.
After yesterday’s 差不多就行了, let’s stay with the second part of the sentence 就行了 and a new sentence 弄点米饭就行了Nòng diǎn mǐfàn jiùxíngle in the serie 都挺好 episode 4 to 24’51.
The context, the father lives with his children for what should be a short period of time and the generation shock makes cohabitation difficult. The couple works a lot and don’t have time to cook. The father has apparently never learned to cook. The son calls his wife to order dishes to be delivered, braised pork and tells her at the end: 弄点米饭就行了. When you know the vocabulary, you can easily understand: 弄, nòng, make / commit / play with / get. 弄 is very much used orally, it is a bit of a catch-all. Here, it means to take in the sense of ordering. 点, diǎn, a little 米饭 mǐ fàn,rice (cooked) Yesterday, we saw that 就行了 has the meaning of “and it’s all right”. The translation will read “Take a little rice and it will be fine! »